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The evolution of agricultural research in the selected countries is intimately linked to the overall history of agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa (FAO/SPAAR forthcoming). This was particularly the case for the colonial period when two major colonial powers (France and the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent Germany) ruled these countries. Agricultural research was initiated in the late 19th to the early 20th centuries by the colonial powers. France in Madagascar, Mali and Senegal, Germany in Cameroon and the United Kingdom in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The most prominent feature of this early period was the creation of botanical gardens. After the First World War and the need for more exotic raw materials for the fledgling industries of the colonial powers more formalized and structured research was needed. Each colonial power subsequently organized its own system with its own particularities. There were, however, also some similarities.


In Cameroon, Germany established botanical gardens in three locations (Edea, Akonolinga and Victoria). There were also research projects on ways to achieve rural development, in rural sociology as well as botany and zoology. After the First World War with the oncome of the French, fully fledged research stations were created for arabica coffee (1925), animal production (1930) and for food crops (1933), robusta coffee and food crops (1938). A research station was also created for soil studies and groundnut/animal traction in agriculture. The stations were set up by the agricultural services for the High Commissioner of Cameroon.

Agricultural research was later boosted with the creation of branches of the French tropical research institutes. The Institute of Tropical Fruits (IFAC/IRFA) set up a station in Nyombe in 1944, the Institute of Oils and Oil Seeds (IRHO) created a station on oil palm and coconut palm in Dibamba in 1948 and the Tropical Institute of Veterinary and Livestock Research (IEMVT) established a research station in Wakwa in 1955. The French Overseas Office for Scientific Research (ORSOM/ORSTOM) also established a centre in Yaounde in 1949 focusing on pedology, entomology, geography, etc. In the English-speaking part of Cameroon, the British administration created the Barombi-Kang Station in 1951 and the Ekona Centre in 1954.

Later on in the sixties, national authorities placed emphasis on higher education. A national agriculture school (faculty/college) was created in 1960 (Yaounde) with the assistance of USAID. It was transferred in 1988 to Dschang to become the National Institute of Rural Development (INADER) and later on the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Dschang. Other centres or universities were created later on in Yaounde, Douala and Ngaoundere, etc.

In 1962 the National Council for Applied Research (CNRSA) was created in the Office of the President of the Republic. However, this did not reduce the monopoly of the French research institutes that operated under the cooperation agreement between France and Cameroon signed in 1963. New tropical French institutes completed the network with the cotton and textiles institute established in Maroua. The Research Institute on Tropical Agriculture (IRAT) was responsible for research on food crops. The French Institute on Coffee and Cocoa took over the stations of Nkolbisson and Nkoemvone. The Technical Centre for Tropical Forestry (CTFT) set up a station in Bertoua in 1964.

In Cameroon the reorganization that started in the sixties was pursued. The National Office for Scientific and Technical Research (ONAREST) became operational in 1974. The year marked a cornerstone in the evolution of the country's research system. Nine national institutes were created encompassing the previous national and foreign institutes within the new cooperation agreement between France and Cameroon. In 1976 the nine institutes were reduced to five of which two dealt with agriculture and were:

The Institute of Agricultural Research (IRA), which in 1979, succeeded the Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Research (IRAF), created in 1976 with the merger of three previous institutes, created in 1974; and the Livestock and Veterinary Research Institute (IRZV) successor, since 1976, to the Livestock, Veterinary and Pasture Research Institute (IRZPV) created in 1974 and took over from the IEMVT French Institute in Ngaoundere. In 1979, IRZV took the responsibility from ORSTOM for research on marine and inland fisheries.

In 1982 the High School of Agro-Food Industries of Cameroon (ENSAAC) was established in the University Centre of Ngaoundere, in 1992, it was named the High School of Agro-Industry Sciences (ENSSAI).

From 1979 onwards many changes occurred in the helm of the policy formulation and coordination bodies of the research system. In 1979 the ONAREST in charge of both the definition of the national research policy and the direct management of some national institutes was changed and named General Delegation of Scientific and Technical Research (DGRST), in the Office of the Head of State. The responsibilities, however, remained the same. In 1984 the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESRES) was created with one of its departments having the same responsibility as the DGRST, until 1992 when a full fledge Ministry of Scientific and Technical Research (MINREST) was established.

The two institutes, IRA and IRZV, were consolidated, in 1996, into one institute: Agricultural Research Institute for Development (IRAD). This restructuring was carried out within a careful exercise of redefinition of priority research programmes and research network covering the major agro-ecological zones of the country within the framework of a long-term strategic research plan. IRAD dominates the whole NARS.


Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, was a British colony established in 1874. Agricultural research started with the establishment of the Government Botanical Gardens in Aburi in 1890. The Aburi Gardens were formally linked to the Kew Gardens in England, whose staff largely directed the work in Aburi. Research at that time focussed mainly on screening exotic material, such as oil palm, cocoa and rubber, for economic uses in the colony. The gardens later on formed the basis for the Department of Agriculture that subsequently assumed leadership in agricultural research. Between 1900 and 1910 the Department established agricultural experiment stations in four stations. The stations carried out research mainly on one or two crops. This was supplemented with more generic crop introduction work in the Aburi Gardens with research on specific crop production systems.

Several regional research organizations were established throughout British West Africa in the late 1940s and early 1950s with support from the Government of the United Kingdom. This research organization represented an addition to research carried out by the Department of Agriculture of the colonial government. At independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s the regional organizations collapsed and their research facilities and activities were transferred to national governments. This happened first in Ghana. Ghana came to assume the headquarters of the West African Cocoa Research Institute and some facilities of the West African Institute for Oil Palm Research and the West African Timber Borer Research Unit.

At independence Ghana started the implementation of its development policy by putting into place a proper institutional framework. Scientific research was hitherto being conducted in an uncoordinated manner in isolated research stations of some government departments. The Joint British West Africa Inter-Territorial Organization was also responsible for institutes and schemes spread throughout the four former British colonies of West Africa. In order to assert its independence and sovereignty, Ghana broke away from the West African Research Organization with the firm objective to consolidate all scientific activities under one umbrella.

According to the Research Act of 1958, the Government created the National Research Council (NRC), charged with the responsibility of scientific, social and industrial research in Ghana and specifically to carry out the following functions:

The National Research Council (NRC) has undergone many changes in name and is now known as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The next step for the Government was to set up a network of the research institutes under the umbrella of the CSIR. The CSIR has 12 research institutes operating under its umbrella. Of these six are entirely concerned with agricultural research and two others are partly so. Each of the institutes is semi-autonomous and is headed by a director and has its own management board. They are listed as below:

The Animal Research Institute (ARI) was established in 1964 to carry out research into all aspects of animal production and to disseminate information to support the animal industry. Its permanent site has moved from Achimota to Katamanso. In 1994, ARI had a scientific staff of 24 scientists.

The Crop Research Institute (CRI) was established in 1964; it has two sites located in Fumesua (main laboratories and experimental plots) and Kwadaso (main office) near Kumasi. It conducts research into production of cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, horticultural crops and farming systems in all the ecological zones of the country. CRI is responsible for a major semi-autonomous station in Nyankpala Experiment Station that evolved, from June 1994, into the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute. The CRI has a research staff of 80 including 28 in the SARI.

The Food Research Institute (FRI) was established in 1963 in Accra to conduct research into problems of food processing and preservation, storage, marketing, distribution and utilization. The FRI has, since 1994, 36 research scientists on its staff.

The Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) was established in 1964 and became semi-autonomous in 1988. It is located in Kusi, near Kade and provides scientific and technological support for the oil industry of the country. It had in 1994, 21 research scientists on its staff.

The Soil Research Institute (SRI) was established in 1964 in Kumasi (Kwadaso). It supplies data on soils and the environment for planning agricultural activities for increased and sustained production; furthermore it has responsibility for all national soil classification and mapping. The Institute, in 1994, had 28 research scientists.

The Institute of Aquatic Biology (IAB) was established in 1965 in Accra; it conducts research into all aspects of the biology of the resources of inland, estuarine, lagoonal and immediate coastal inshore water systems of Ghana. Apart from agricultural aspects, it also studies problems such as water borne pests and diseases. In 1994, the institute had 27 total research staff.

The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) was formed in 1963 in Kumasi. The research work of FORIG is in silviculture and management, agro forestry, processing and utilization and protection of forest products.

The Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) was established in 1982 in Accra. It is responsible for research on the water resources of the country and is partly concerned with agricultural research.

Besides the CSIR and its network of 12 institutes for which eight are agriculture oriented, as enumerated above, other components of NARS include the following institutions:

a) Universities

The three universities are located in Legon, Kumasi and Cape Coast. They operate under the Ministry of Education and carry out agricultural research in several departments in their agricultural faculties/schools as well as other departments and institutes.

The University of Ghana, Legon (UGL). The main unit conducting agricultural research within the University is the Faculty of Agriculture. The Faculty has three agricultural research stations that were established in 1953-1954, 34 staff are involved in agricultural research.

The University of Science and Technology (UST) Kumasi: the UST conducts agricultural research within the semi-deciduous rain forest and the transition zones. Much of its research activities on horticultural and other crops, livestock, poultry and agricultural engineering are conducted on the farms of the faculty within the campus. The Faculty of Agriculture has five departments that conduct agricultural research. They conduct research on: horticulture, agricultural engineering, animal science, crop science and agricultural economics and farm management. The Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and the Bureau of Integrated Rural Development are under the UST. Twenty staff are involved in agricultural research.

The University of Cape Coast (UCC) has a School of Agriculture that undertakes agricultural research in the high and semi-deciduous rain forest and the coastal thicker zone. The School of Agriculture has five departments (Animal Science, Crop Science, Soil Science, Agricultural Engineering and Agricultural Economics) that were established in 1975. Fifteen staff are involved in agricultural research.

b) Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)

The Ministry has a department of extension and five technical departments that conduct some agricultural research, mainly on-farm testing and verification trials. These technical departments are: Crop Service, Animal Health, Animal Production, Engineering Services and Fisheries. They are semi-autonomous and headed by a director. They are responsible for 32 stations and special farms located throughout the agro-ecological zones of the country.

c) Commodity Boards, Corporations and Commissions

Some commodity boards, corporations and commissions undertake research in their special areas or commodities of interest. Some have institutes or special units devoted to research while others undertake research in collaboration with research institutes and agencies, particularly those of the CSIR and the universities. Among the commodity boards it is worth mentioning the Ghana Cocoa Board (GCB). It handles all aspects of the cocoa industry in the country including research that is conducted by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and is sited in Tafo. The CRIG, established in 1938 also undertakes research on other tree crops such as coffee, sheanut and kola. Besides several farms and facilities in the cocoa growing areas, it has out-stations in Bole for sheanut research and Afosu for coffee research.

d) Development Programmes

Some of the agricultural related development programmes have research components as part of their activities. They usually undertake on-farm testing and verification trials. An example is Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000), which is a non-government organization set up in 1986.


Kenya up until 1895 was part of the British East Africa; it became a British Protectorate from 1895 to 1920 and was designated as Kenya after 1920. The British considered provision of raw materials for their industries an important colonial issue. To enhance this role improvement of agriculture was necessary. A first step was to establish botanical gardens. In Kenya agriculture development was first initiated as a scheme to settle ex-British soldiers who had participated in the Boer War, 1898-1902. Agricultural research was formalized in 1903 when the Department of the colonial government established the first experimental station at a government farm in Kabete, located near to Nairobi.

Between 1903 and 1924 a team of government scientists was appointed to the Kabete Station (entomologist, a tobacco officer, a coffee planting inspector, a horticulturist, a plant breeder, a mycologist and an agricultural chemist). In 1924 the staff was transferred to a new facility called Scott Agricultural Laboratories (SAL). Veterinary research laboratories were also set up in Kabete in 1908. In these early days of agricultural research, the focus was primarily on the production problems of the European settlers. Later on as crop and animal production grew in economic importance and settlers spread throughout the country, several other agricultural research stations were established: a plant breeding station was established (Njoro, 1927), animal husbandry research stations (Naivasha, 1928 and Mariakana, 1932) and a sisal research station (Thika, 1937). Other relocations of research facilities on the basis of the policy of "research facility where the crops grow well" involved:

Kenyan agricultural research concentrated until World War 2, on exportable crops and commodities favoured by European farmers. However, during and soon after the War there was a significant shift in government policy towards agricultural problems in African areas. The new policy objective was to exploit the country's substantial agricultural potential in order to support a market economy and to meet domestic food requirements. This was also spurred on by the outcome of the war and the famine in 1943. The blueprint for the development of the African areas was a ten-year plan (1946-1955) called the African Land Development Plan (ALDEV). This was later substantially recast into the Sywnnerton Plan of 1954 covering the period of five years up to 1959. The Sywnnerton Plan was the first concrete step taken by the Government to direct agricultural research into "non-scheduled areas". In order to tackle some new research problems such as low yields and fertility, a number of new research stations were established in different ecological zones as follows:

After independence, it was found that a number of important commodities/research areas had not been adequately provided for, hence efforts were made to establish research stations to cover sugarcane, potato development, range management, seed quality and beef production as follows:

Besides the main research stations a number of substations were built in various locations in the country to augment activities of some of the main stations.

At the same time the Government of the United Kingdom decided to create regional agricultural research organizations in East Africa that complemented or partially replaced existing research institutes. The Government mainly financed these. The territorial research institutions, were on the other hand, funded locally. In addition, the East African Agricultural and Forestry Research Council was created in 1947 with a mandate to monitor all research carried out by the territorial and inter-territorial institutes of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and Zanzibar.

The council had its headquarters in Nairobi. It was within this framework that the Amani Agricultural Research Institute was transferred from the Usambara Mountains base (Tanganyika), to Muguga as the East African Agricultural and Forestry Research Organization (EAAFRO). At the same time, the valuable collection of identified plant specimen was moved to the new East African Herbarium that is attached to the National Museum of Nairobi. The Central Veterinary Research Institute established in 1959 in Kabete, evolved to the East African Veterinary Research Organization (EAVRO) based in Muguga.

A significant expansion of the Department of Agriculture's network of research stations took place between 1945 and up to the year of independence in 1963. Experiment stations were established in neglected areas of the country in which African farmers predominated. For the first time, the problems of local farmers were given some serious attention by the country's research agencies.

A series of regionally mandated institutes that were primarily directed and funded by metropolitan government, came into existence (see list above). They continued with little change until the collapse of the East African Community in 1977 after which they were taken over temporarily by various ministries.

With independence in 1963, all the national agricultural research agencies were transferred, with few disruptions, to the newly independent government. During the first 10 to 15 years after independence there were few changes in the organizational set up of the agricultural research system other than some expansion of the network of experiment stations as described above. Most of the national agricultural research was conducted by the Department of Agriculture, under the Scientific Research Division created in 1974, and the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Research on coffee and tea was conducted, as previously since 1949, by the Coffee Research Foundation (CRF) and the Tea Research Institute of East Africa (now the Tea Research Foundation), both funded through taxes and cess on these products collected by the respective commodity boards.

At the time of independence, there were no academic institutions in agricultural sciences operating in Kenya. Diploma-level training in Kenya was offered in Egerton Agricultural College, which was established in 1939 and initially for Europeans only. After independence the Government engaged on a forceful programme of building academic institutions. The University College of Nairobi, in 1962, upgraded to university status and named, University of Nairobi in 1970. In 1981 the Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Technology was established and became a constituent College of the Kenyatta University, in 1988; in 1984, the Moi University was established with a Faculty of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, an Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Engineering Faculty was due to be established in 1994.

Kenya took during the 1970s and 1980s important decisions to streamline NARS with several acts of Parliament. In 1968, the Government commissioned an Agricultural Research Survey Team to review the research activities in the Ministry of Agriculture. The team noted many deficiencies and made wide-range recommendations. Among them one was implemented e.g. the establishment of an Agricultural Research Advisory Council. Unfortunately, apart from its inaugural meeting in 1969, it never became operational.

Upon the collapse of the East African Community, in 1977, the Government took the Science and Technology Act of 1977, to provide a new framework for research institutions. Under this Act, the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) was established to advise the Government on all aspects of science and technology. The council advised the Government to reorganize agricultural research into a number of semi-autonomous parastatal institutes.

An Amended Science and Technology Act, of 1979, made provision for the establishment of the above-mentioned institutes. The same act provided for the establishment of Advisory Research Committees (ARCs), in each of the major areas of science, directly under the NCST, the highest policy-making body in the country for science and technology. The ARCs are the institutional organs, which link the technical ministries and the research agencies. The ARCs serve also, primarily as forums for the establishment of research programmes and budget allocations and evaluation. Among these ARCs, is the Agricultural Sciences Advisory Research Committee.

Under the provision of the above-mentioned Act the following institutes were created in 1980:

Besides these public research institutions, other components of NARS are: (i) the two research foundations mentioned previously (coffee and tea); (ii) the faculties of agriculture of the universities listed above; (iii) various development agencies and regional development authorities, that have small research branches; and (iv) some private companies.


In Madagascar the French colonial administration started some research when experimental gardens were established in 1896 and 1905 in four locations. A cotton testing station was also established as early as 1904.

After World War 1, the experimental gardens evolved into experiment stations. In contrast to the diverse collections in botanical gardens, the focus in stations was often only on a few crops. Over time the Maravoay Station became specialized in rice, the station in Lac Alaotra (established in 1922) in rice and cassava, and the Ivailona Station in coffee and vanilla, two of the country's major export crops. By 1930 central laboratories for agricultural chemistry and phytopathology had been established in the old jardin d'essais in Nanisana near Tananarive. To this a phytogenetic laboratory and a central service for agricultural hydrology was added. This network of stations was backed up by a metropolitan research institute established in 1921 and named the Institute National of Colonial Agronomy (INAC).

During the period leading up to World War 2, all country's experiment stations and laboratories reported directly to the colonial local government. INAC's role was limited to providing scientific backstopping from its headquarters in France to these Malagasy research facilities. In 1950 the local agricultural research activities were reorganized into an agronomic research service, a plant protection service and a locust control service. The agronomic service comprised a group of central laboratories that were formerly part of the Institut Pasteur, as well as the plant improvement service and the experiment stations in Alaotra, Ivoloina, Marovoay and Bealahana. The plant protection service conducted some phytopathological research, while the locust service had a research centre in the Betioky Station.

Livestock research in Madagascar and the establishment of the veterinary services dates back to 1907. The first veterinary laboratory was established in Mahamasina in the early 1920s. Between 1925 and 1950, livestock experiment stations were opened in five locations (Befanamy, Ambovombe, Antsirabe, Moraharivo and Kianjasoa). After 1950, the station in Kianjjasoa developed into one of the country's two main livestock research centres. The other centre was established in Miadana in 1956. In 1934, the laboratory in Mahamasina was integrated into the Institut Pasteur. The laboratory was relocated to Ampandrianomby in 1955 and renamed Central Livestock Laboratory Joseph Carougeau.

Formal forestry and fisheries research did not begin until the early 1950s when a research section was established within the Forestry Service. Research in forestry and fisheries strengthened with the establishment of CTFT in 1961 and the subsequent delegation of forestry and inland fisheries to CTFT. In 1974 with the creation of FOFIFA, the CTFT's activities were absorbed into the new organization.

With independence the management of the local research stations was delegated to the commodity tropical research institutes created by France after World War 2 through a series of bilateral agreements. These were (using acronyms): IRAT, IRCT, IFCC, IRHO and CTFT. This situation persisted until 1974 when the Government of Madagascar assumed direct control of the country's agricultural research agencies and established the "Centre national de la recherche appliquée au development" (CENRADERU or FOFIFA in Malagasy). Some collaboration, at a substantially lower level of intensity, continued with these French institutes.

In 1972, a bilateral agreement between Norway and Madagascar led to the creation of FIFAMANOR, an institute designed to promote improved production practices for wheat, potatoes and milk (forages), that was maintained during the last two decades a long with an extension programme. FIFAMANOR is under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Academic organizations include the Ecole supérieure des sciences agronomiques (ESSA), established in 1962. Some agricultural oriented activities are also carried out at the University of Antanananrivo, and fisheries research is also carried out at the Marine Institute of the University of Tuléar.

Madagascar followed the same path in reorganizing its NARS as the other countries. Presently at the policy level is the Ministry of Scientific Research in charge of defining the national scientific policy, it has changed name and acronym several times. This has come about by a desire from Government to streamline its research system under a unique policy guidance. Under the MRS the following institutions operate:

1. National Centre of Applied Research for Development (FOFIFA)

FOFIFA, the Malagasy acronym of the CENRADERU, was created in 1974 following the nationalization of the French research institutes. It is the unique national agricultural research institution of the country accounting for 80 percent of the country's research capacity in terms of full-time equivalent researchers. From 1974 to 1982 it has undergone several changes, in terms of legal status and management along with the acute financial crisis in the 1980s. As a consequence, a board of management was set up in 1983 and a thorough review was carried out by ISNAR at the request of the Government. As a result a restructuring of FOFIFA was carried out with a new management structure and programme budgeting system; a multidisciplinary and regional approach was adopted. A master plan was prepared in 1988 within this new policy and in view of pursuing the reorganization of the institute. The execution of the National Agricultural Research Programme (NARP), started in 1990 for seven years but was interrupted during the period of political turmoil (1990-1993) and updated in 1994.

2. National Research Centre on the Environment (CNRE)

The CNRE is one of the six centres under the aegis of the MRS; it was created in 1988 with the following mandate:

This mandate conforms to the orientation of research policy on the environment defined in 1996 and aimed at responding to the needs of a sustainable and environmental-friendly development. Only a small proportion (10 percent) of CNRE's activities are of direct relevance to agriculture.

3. National Centre of Oceanographic Research (CNRO)

Created in 1977 with the nationalization of the research activities and facilities of ORSTOM in Nosy-Bé, CNRO is part of the MRS. It encompasses three research departments (namely fisheries, marine biology and oceanography), a statistical unit and support services. Most of the research staff is located in the headquarters in Nosy-Bé. The statistical unit is located in Antsiranana and there are also two maregraphic stations in Taolognaro and Nosy-Bé.

4. Fiompiana Fambolena Malagasy Norwegian (FIFAMANOR)

FIFAMANOR was created in 1972 under an agreement between the Malagasy Republic and the Kingdom of Norway. It is a semi-autonomous institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture. From 1972 to 1992 Norway funded it and from 1993 it was funded multilaterally. Its mandate is to promote the cultivation of wheat, potato, sweet potato, cassava, milk production, agro-forestry and social development activities. Specifically its objectives are:

5. Malagasy Board for Tobacco (OFMATA)

OFMATA has semi-autonomous status, created in 1969, with the monopoly for tobacco production, handling and marketing in the country that will end with its forthcoming privatization. It performs applied and adaptive research. It is under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture.

6. Academic Institutions

As mentioned earlier the academic institutions involved in agricultural research are the Ecole supérieure des sciences agronomiques, the major one and some laboratories and departments of the universities of Antanananrivo as well as the university of Tuléar.

7. Experimental and Training Centre (FAFIALA)

The FAFIALA was created in 1992 as a follow up to the village reforestation project funded by Switzerland (PARV) in the region of Antananarivo. The centre has private status with the objectives of preparing actions and working out technical solutions that can help farmers and decentralized communities to act for the protection of their environment with particular emphasis on trees. It performs on-farm experiments


Agricultural research began in Malawi at the turn of the 20th century. Research was undertaken as a side activity by the Department of Agriculture and commodity organizations such as the Empire Cotton Growing Organization. Research in this period primarily involved variety-screening trials on various experimental farms for export crops such as coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, etc. The research division of the locally administered Department of Agriculture established its first agricultural research station in 1940 in Bvumbwe. Stations in Chitedze (1949), Mbawa (1950), Chitala (1955) followed. As in its other colonies, the Government of the United Kingdom formed an Agricultural Research Council of Central Africa with its own research facilities in each participating country. The Council was disbanded in 1963 at the dissolution of the Federation of Nyasaland and Tanganyika. In Malawi the activities of the council were transferred to the Agricultural Research Council of Malawi, established in 1967. Activities covered research programmes on forestry that were transferred to the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM) established in 1970, and on cotton, grain legumes, and soils that were transferred to DAR in 1975 when it was abolished. Veterinary research as well as forestry and fisheries research started very slowly before independence and expanded somewhat after that.

At independence in 1964, the Research Division of the Department of Agriculture, which eventually evolved into the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), was staffed with 22 researchers, of whom 21 were expatriates. The research was organized on a project basis, by crop, livestock or disciplines and was carried out in a network of 11 main stations, nine substations and 220 trial sites scattered throughout the country. The Department's research focused mainly on export crops, particularly tea, tobacco and cotton, while livestock research received only marginal attention. In 1967, cotton research was transferred from DAR to the Agricultural Research Council of Malawi (ARCM). The Cotton Research Corporation provided financial support for cotton research at that time (previously the Empire Cotton Research Corporation) and the British Cotton Growing Association. When, in 1975, ARCM ceased to exist, the responsibility for research on cotton, grain legumes, and soil shifted to DAR. In 1979, research on tobacco was transferred from DAR to the newly established Malawi Tobacco Research Authority.

Tobacco and tea research started early during colonial times, on a regional basis, to cater for the colonial growers' needs. After independence DAR assumed responsibility for tobacco research before being taken over successively (1980 and 1989) by the Malawi Tobacco Research Authority and the Tobacco Research Institute of Malawi (TRIM). For tea the regional arrangement continued and in 1966 the Tea Research Foundation of Central Africa (TRF) was established. It received funds from the tea industry in Zimbabwe, Zambia and recently from tea states in Mozambique and South Africa. The Sugar Corporation of Malawi (SUCOMA) carries out research on sugar cane.

Academic research in agriculture is carried out mainly in Bunda College of Agriculture of the University of Malawi in 1966, however only around 25 percent of the college staff is devoted to research. Similarly Chancellor College also carried out some research of interest to agriculture.

Malawi as other countries in the sample also continued a reorganization of NARS. An Agricultural Research Council (ARC) was created in November 1985 with the mandate of being the high-level policy body on research priorities. The composition of the council has been revised to 15 selected members chaired by a prominent scientist with the Principal Secretary of Agriculture as alternate and represented by the heads of different departments, institutions and private sector related to agricultural research. The main function of the ARC is to orient the direction of research and approve the research programmes, budgets and funding levels. In addition the ARC has a specific function of preparing periodically and reviewing the Agricultural Research Master Plan. A secretariat was established in DAR, eventually with the Agricultural Economics, Statistics and Data Processing Unit (AGREDAT). Technical and finance subcommittees were appointed to give detailed consideration to research programmes and contract research proposals before their eventual submission, with appropriate comment, to the council, which approves the annual research programmes and budget before forwarding them to the Treasury.

1. The Department of Agriculture Research (DAR)

DAR is the main organization of NARS with more than half the total research potential of the country. DAR is within the organizational chart of the Ministry of Agriculture. DAR's mandate covers crop and livestock production, natural resources, agro-forestry, farming systems and agricultural engineering. It was reorganized in 1985 into seven commodity groups, each group being led by a national research coordinator (NRC) who is a senior research scientist responsible for research programmes, without administrative responsibilities. The seven commodity groups are the following:

DAR has a network of three research stations, five experimental stations and nine substations, covering the three agro-ecological zones of the country and in total 17 locations. In 1998/1999, 87 researchers, 66 technical officers and 281 technical assistants staffed it. Among them 17 were PhD holders, 46 MSc holders and 24 BSc holders. Seventy-two percent of the researchers have post-graduate degrees.

2. Department of Animal Health and Industry (DAHI)

This Department provides veterinary services to smallholder farmers, carries out animal disease research and is also engaged in production and marketing. Scientists in DAHI carry out research on poultry breeding, goat breeding and pasture evaluation. The breeders work jointly with those of DAR.

3. Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM)

FRIM is under the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources and concentrates its research on forestry. The DAR agro-forestry research unit maintains collaboration with FRIM in sharing of plant material and analysis of plant and soil nutrient content.

4. Tobacco Research Institute of Malawi (TRIM)

The Government created a statutory institute to focus on tobacco research initially in the form of the Tobacco Research Institute of Malawi. This Institute later, in 1995, became ARET (Agricultural Research and Extension Trust). It conducts research on all tobaccos and provides extension services to the estate sector. It fully cooperates with DAR.

5. University of Malawi

The Bunda College of Agriculture and the Chancellor College are the two institutions of academic nature carrying some research of interest to agriculture. They cooperate with DAR through research contract awards.

6. The Tea Research Foundation of Central Africa (TRF)

This is one of the oldest research institutions in Malawi. It conducts all research on tea for Malawi. Though privately owned and funded, research results on tea are made available to smallholder tea farmers as well.

7. Sugar Research

Research on sugar is conducted by the Sugar Corporation of Malawi (SUCOMA) and Dwangwa Sugar Corporation (DWASCO). Interactions with DAR are mostly during introduction of new varieties where DAR's quarantine facilities are used.


Mali presents an exception to the other countries as no botanical garden was set up and agricultural research did not start until after the First World War. Agricultural research started in 1927 with the creation of the animal husbandry farm in Sotuba near Bamako, the agricultural research station of the Niger Office, near Segou in 1931, and the Research and Serotherapy Laboratory (LRS), Bamako in 1939. It expanded further after 1945 particularly with the creation of IRCT cotton research stations in N'Tarla and Kogoni. Food crop trials were later carried out in these stations by the French Institute IRAT after 1960. The Sotuba farm was transformed into the Federal Livestock Research Centre that covered the whole Sahelian zone. It was later entrusted to IEMVT during the 1950s.

After independence in 1960, the Government of Mali was anxious to have national structures for higher education and research, particularly in agriculture. It created:

In 1976 the 1962 Franco-Malian agreement whereby the French Institutes (IRAT, IRCT and IEMVT) managed jointly with IER the research programmes, was abolished and IER had full responsibility of its own activities that allowed it to diversify its cooperation with bilateral and international research organizations and donor agencies (in particular with the Netherlands and USAID).

A step further was taken in 1990 with the merger of IER and INRZFH into one institute (the new IER). A long-term master plan for NARS was also prepared. Currently NARS is composed of the following institutions:

At the apex level for policy formulation the National Agricultural Research Council (CNRA), an organ of nine voting members. Under the Ministry of Rural Development it has the function of preparing the national agricultural research policy and strategy and of supervising its implementation. It has three committees: the scientific committee, the financial and resources committee and the users committee. It is managed by a permanent executive secretary.

The National Agricultural Research Institute (IER): it dominates NARS with about 75 percent of the full-time equivalent researchers and nearly 80 and 70 percent of the national and total financial resources of NARS and all the agricultural research centres and stations outside the regions of Bamako and Koulikoro. IER was responsible for all agricultural research sectors except for rural engineering and mechanization and animal health. IER had departmental model status under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development that has evolved recently to the status of a public semi-autonomous scientific research institution (EPSTC), with a board of directors. It has a network of six regional research centres, nine research stations and 14 substations, covering all the agro-ecological zones of the country; IER under its strategic plan runs seven major research programmes as follows:

Other components of NARS include technical divisions and development projects under the ministries responsible for the agriculture sector and the environment, and performing various agricultural research activities. They are as follows:

The CEEMA, which is entrusted with the promotion of agricultural mechanization through applied technology and development of agricultural implements. Its 10 senior staff has only very limited national research resources. It performed a quite important training programme (rural craftsmen, mechanics and drivers for agricultural machinery).

LCV (Central Veterinary Laboratory): its function is to produce and market vaccines and applied research on animal health. It was staffed with 30 senior staff of whom 10 researchers; it received considerable foreign assistance particularly from USAID.

The Mali Livestock and Meat Office (OMBEVI): was charged with the promotion of marketing animal products and studies and adaptive research. Its research capacity was estimated at 10 full-time equivalent researchers out of a total staff of 50 senior technical staff.

Some miscellaneous development projects with adaptive research activities (Niger Authority, the Livestock Development Office of Mopti) for around a total of 20 full-time equivalent researchers.

There are several academic institutions, mostly under the Ministry of Education.

The Polytechnics Institute of Katibougou: a college training at BSc level and technicians. Its staff accounted for 96 professors of which 89 nationals highly trained; 44 percent held post-graduate degrees. Their research activities were limited. Some faculties of the university of Bamako with research activities of interest to agriculture (biology and social sciences, etc.), with limited financial resources. They accounted in 1990, for about 15 full-time equivalent researchers.

CNRST (Conseil national de la recherche scientifique et technique): the CNRST has coordinating authority over all research institutions in Mali but its limited resources and experience in research management were a handicap for fulfilling its mandate.

Mali also hosts some branches of international agricultural research centres and regional research organizations (ICRISAT, ILCA, INSAH), however they cannot be counted as part of NARS.


Research started between 1821 and 1824 when Mr Richard under the leadership of the Governor Baron Roger, implemented a garden near Dagana along the river Senegal, to be known later as Richard Toll (meaning in the local language as the "Garden of Richard"). Trials were first carried out on cotton and later on various crops such as vegetables, tree crops, sweet potato, cassava, etc. Unfortunately the effort did not continue after the departure of Mr Richard and his team. Later on a model farm was created in Bambey in 1913, up-graded in 1921 as a groundnut experimental station.

Senegal was the hub of the very first agricultural research activities in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. Later on it attained headquarters for institutions responsible for this sector for the whole Sudano-Sahel zone. The model from Bambey played a central role in the development and management of agricultural research. In 1938 it became the Sudanese Agricultural Research Sector and then in 1950 the Federal Centre for Agricultural Research which ran a network of food crop stations in French West Africa.

Similarly, animal research in the Dakar-Hann Laboratory was created in 1935. Subsequently taken over by the French Institute IEMVT in 1948. It was responsible for veterinary research with stations in various countries of French West Africa. In 1952 ORSTOM (Overseas Scientific and Technical Research Office) set up offices in Dakar and expanded into many sectors including fisheries. In 1961 it took over the Seafood Technology Laboratory created in 1957 by the Livestock and Animal Industries Service, renaming it the Oceanographic/Research Centre of Dakar-Thiaroye (CRODT).

After independence in 1960, the Government of Senegal showed great interest in research in general, and agricultural research in particular. It took the following decisions:

nationalization of the two existing federal institutions: Bambey became the National Agricultural Research Centre (CNRA) of Senegal, with its management entrusted to the French Institute IRAT created in 1960. The Hann Laboratory received the status of a national institution, called the National Livestock and Veterinary Research Laboratory (LNERV), still under the management of IEMVT. New impetus was given to new research sectors with the creation of the Food Technology Institute (ITA), in 1964 with the assistance of UNDP/FAO, and the National Forestry Research Centre (CNRF) in 1965, run by the French Institute CTFT.

The creation of apex bodies/committees for national science policy, which have undergone many changes starting as the Scientific and Technical Affairs Bureau in 1966 under the aegis of the Office of the Head of State and ending as the Scientific and Technical Delegation in 1992 and now as the Directorate of Scientific Affairs under the Ministry of Education in 2001. Throughout, the Interministerial Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CIRST), created in 1966, has been the body responsible for defining scientific policy and taking major decisions at its annual meetings (prepared by the lead agency backed by standing advisory sectoral committees).

The true birth of NARS dates from 1975 with the creation of the Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA), that consolidated all existing agricultural research institutions (with the exception of ITA), including the research stations hitherto run by the French institutes IRCT and IRHO. In 1979 it also took over the Horticulture Development Centre (CDH), a R&D centre for fruit and vegetables launched in 1975 with the support of FAO under UNDP and Belgian funding.

Senegal also had a dynamic university. Dakar University was the first in sub-Saharan French-speaking Africa and numerous training institutions followed. However, paradoxically for a dominantly agricultural country, agricultural sciences were for a long time ignored at the academic level and it was not until 1980 that the Institute for Rural Development, called later on INDR, then the Agricultural Training College (ENSA), was founded in Thies.

As with the other francophone countries, Senegal decided in 1974 to revise the bilateral agreement with France in terms of agricultural research. It created in 1975 the Senegalese Institute of Agriculture Research (ISRA). The current composition of NARS is as follows.

At the apex there is the CIRST with standing sectoral committees for policy guidance, however, this function faded away overtime and the small Directorate for Scientific Affairs within the Ministry of Education has no influence on sectoral research policy.

The Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research (ISRA)

The current NARS is largely dominated by ISRA with about 90 and 95 percent of the total human and financial resources. It also covers all agricultural research centres and stations outside the Cape Verde administrative region (Dakar). ISRA was a public semi-autonomous institution that has been changed recently into the new more relevant category, the public scientific and technological institution. ISRA has moved around but now is under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture. At its creation ISRA encompassed seven scientific departments that were reduced later on to five and since the early 1980s it has gone through many structural changes. It accounted in 1990 for 173 research staff including 60 expatriates or around 35 percent of the total ISRA research staff.

Other components of NARS

The Food Technology Institute (ITA): it has a research mandate and development as well as training and production in the field of food technology. ITA has 24 senior staff equivalent to eight full-time researchers. Its legal status is similar to that of ISRA (public scientific and technical institution), under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry and Craft.

Three training colleges: under the Ministry of Education they have limited agricultural research resources; the largest (in terms of agricultural research potential) is the ENSA (14 professors, of whom 12 are nationals), responsible primarily for training of agricultural engineers (ingénieurs agronomes), and secondarily for research and support to agricultural development in the Thies region. The two other colleges are the National Technological College (ENSUT), that focuses mainly on training of engineers for agro-food technologies and the National Applied Economics College (ENEA: 30 professors of whom seven are specialists in rural economics and sociology). It trains engineers for planning, statistics and development.

Two colleges/institutes of the university. The Environmental Sciences Institute (ISE) and the Earth Science Institute (IST), which together accounted in 1990 for a small number of professors-researchers concerned with the rural environment.

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